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Jakartans Start Riding Bikes To Get Around The City During COVID-19 Transition Period

Cycling in Jakarta becomes more common during transition period

Jakarta is notorious for its heavy traffic, and lack of adequate sidewalks and bicycle lanes. It’s unfortunate that it took a pandemic to show the kind of city Jakarta could be if it were to rethink its infrastructure.

Residents of Jakarta may have to get ready to say goodbye to views of a clear, blue sky since large-scale social restrictions are slowly being lifted. While many are still working from home, businesses are slowly re-opening and that means Jakarta’s streets will begin to get crowded. 

An increasing number of cars and motorcycles have indeed returned to the streets, but The Jakarta Post reported that The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) has recorded a 1,000% increase in the number of people cycling in Jakarta on Jalan Sudirman.

Bikes become an attractive option for Jakartans

Sudirman cyclingImage credit: @kreshna

After months of being quarantined at home, people’s decision to turn to bikes to get around the city makes a lot of sense. In addition to helping people readjust to an active lifestyle, bikes also provide people with an alternative to public transportation where there is a risk of viral transmission.

Before the pandemic, Jakartans who already had a preference for bikes had to brave the chaotic streets of the city because of the lack of designated lanes. Car-free days, in which certain main roads around the city morphed into a concrete park, were great, but they still revealed the minimal attention paid to pedestrians.

A man on his bike waits at the traffic lightImage credit: @jakartagowes

Bicycles don’t only let people exercise, but they are also eco-friendly. So seeing the recent jump in cyclists could possibly signal a huge change in Jakarta.

It might be a while until the existing bike lane network can be expanded as the budget that was initially allocated to it has been understandably used to combat COVID-19. But hopefully, the current circumstances will be used as an opportunity to promote bike-riding and more importantly, to provide facilities to ensure the safety and convenience of cyclists. 

Enjoy cycling in Jakarta, but don’t forget to adhere to health protocols

A man riding a bike
Image credit: @bahrezaa

Many Jakartans may have a newfound passion for cycling, but we shouldn’t get too excited and forget that we still have to follow health protocols. Large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) may have been loosened, but the pandemic is not over yet.

Be sure to have hand sanitizer and a face mask on you, but also remember to maintain a safe distance from other cyclists.

And if you’re biking to work for the first time, trip-planning tools can help make your commute easier. It might also be a good idea for newbies to use maps such as these on Bikemap to learn the city’s bike routes.

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Cover image adapted from: @kreshna and @kreshna

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